- Review: THE LAST DESCENT, A Travel Writer Mystery, by Jeff Soloway
Rated 5 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
Witty, wise, and wonderful! This is a trip to the Grand Canyon that you will never forget and you will be glad you never took. Jacob Smalls, the narrator, is a self-deprecating travel writer who specializes in travel books about Bolivia. Admittedly, his reading audience is small. To make ends meet, Jacob writes freelance travel articles as well. This is how he happens to accompany his ex-girlfriend, Jewel Rider, on a travel writers’ junket to the grand opening of the “Grand Chalet Grand Canyon” resort.
Jacob is going because it is a free trip, with free food and liquor, with a beautiful ex-girlfriend who recently dumped him (maybe he can change her mind on this trip?). Jewel, who considers herself a more serious journalist than other travel writers — or at least more serious than Jacob — is going on the trip, she says, “to take down the murdering enviro-terrorists” who are ruining the Grand Canyon and starving the Southwest of its water supply.
When Jewel is, in fact, murdered — possibly by the owners of the Grand Chalet — Jacob has a new purpose in life. He will not fail her in death as he failed her in life. He plans to find her killer and, along the way, just possibly convince a new girlfriend to leave her husband (his host and chief suspect).
The murder mystery is suspenseful and constantly surprising, but it is the funny, smart, superbly detailed prose of author Jeff Soloway that makes this book a treasure. Soloway has created a winsome philosopher in Jacob Smalls, whose narrative is interwoven with increasingly resonant insights about human nature and the nature of true love.
Whether or not you plan to visit Bolivia or the Grand Canyon, make definite plans to get and read THE LAST DESCENT. It is a priceless literary breath of fresh desert air.
This book contains minimal offensive language and no explicit sex scenes, but extra-marital sex is assumed to be the norm. There is neither positive nor negative inclusion of religion.
This writer received an uncorrected pre-publication proof in exchange for an honest and objective review.